Covering the Land of Lincoln

Illini continue to eye JUCO pipeline for offensive linemen

Illinois football is looking to bolster their offensive line with their latest recruiting move.

As soon as Bret Bielema stepped foot in Champaign, he hit the ground running when it came to recruiting. His coaching staff is building the Illini the right way. We are stockpiling freshmen talent while sprinkling in transfers.

The Illini are also eyeing the junior college market. In his first true recruiting class, Bielema was able to utilize the JUCO route well. We added two crucial offensive linemen in Zy Crisler and Isaiah Adams who came from Mississippi Gulf Coast CC and Garden City CC, respectively.

It looks like the JUCO route for offensive linemen is going to start becoming a trend for the Orange and Blue, as we are now eyeing Dezmond Schuster.

Blessed to earn an offer from Illinois University @CoachSerchia @bluedragonsport @CoachDrewDallas pic.twitter.com/mxcQjI4GNa

— Schuster.Dezmond (@DezmondSchuster) September 21, 2022

Schuster is a 6-foot-5, 311-pound offensive lineman from Hutchinson Community College. He isn’t rated or ranked by 247Sports but the Illini see a ton of potential in this kid, as we are his only scholarship offer on the table right now.

Illinois football creating a pipeline to the JUCO ranks is a smart move.

Without a good offensive line, any team in college football will struggle. Specifically talking about Bielema and his offensive style, Illinois needs big bodies up front to run block or we won’t be able to move the ball.

That is why Bielema and his coaching staff went out and signed Crisler and Adams. They are two huge pieces to the puzzle for the Illini. They joined an already stout and experienced offensive line.

Illinois is going to need more offensive line help in the coming years, though. Alex Palczewski and Alex Pihlstrom are both departing after this season. Jordyn Slaughter, Julian Pearl, and Adams are all juniors, so 2023 will be their final run with the program.

That leaves a lot of open spots on the offensive line. Crisler is only a sophomore, so hopefully, he is around for two more seasons. I love what we have in the young guys as well. Hunter Whitenack and Co. should provide a stable foundation.

Adding in JUCO players to the offensive line is a smart move, though. While these young guys get going and the older guys depart, we are going to need plug and play big men up front to block. That is why I like the offer to Schuster.

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